DIY Draped Skirt

Here’s how you can make your very own draped asymmetrical skirt as seen on sites like GoJane.com and Forever21.com:

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1. Fold your fabric in half and pin it in place. Fold your skirt in half, place it on top of the folded fabric and trace the skirt. Then, be sure to leave 1 inch on the side of the pattern, 1.5 inches extra at the top of the pattern (this will be for the waist band), and 1/2 inch for the bottom hem of the skirt. Your pattern should look like  this:

         

2. Cut out the pattern and complete the seam allowance lines so that they all go around the pattern rather than on just half of the pattern . (1/2 inch on the bottom, on the left side,  on the right side, and 1.5 inches on the top, ). Like this:

 

3. Repeat step 1. However, Remember to elongate the side line of the skirt so that the line reaches the bottom of the fabric. Leave a 1/2 inch seam allowance line at the bottom, 1 inch allowance at the side, 2 inches at the top. It should look like this:

4. Repeat step 2.

5. Connect the two pieces of the skirt by sewing along the seam allowance lines drawn on the left and right side of the skirt, and top stitch for security and for a professional finish. Make sure the skirt is inside out when you sew. 6. Measure how much elastic you need by trying it on around your waist or hips (depending on where your skirt starts). Leave a 1/2 inch seam allowance. Sew the elastic to the top of the skirt.  7 . Place your skirt on a flat surface with the front of the skirt facing up, and the back (the longer part) of the skirt facing down. Take one end of the bottom of the skirt and fold (it upwards) so that it meets  the bottom of the front of the skirt (near the corner). Your skirt should now look like a pillow case –the ones that open in the middle, rather than at the top. Screen Shot 2014-07-15 at 2.13.46 AM 8. Create a triangle by bringing the bottom on the skirt (the part that isn’t sewn) over to the other side of the skirt near where the skirt was previously sewn. *I hope that wasn’t confusing drpskgif 5 9. Put the skirt on, take the point of the triangle, wrap it around to the opposite of the skirt, and tuck the point of the triangle into the top of the skirt. Pin it down, turn the skirt inside and sew down the point of the triangle.

hallos
In this gif I start by grabbing the point of the triangle

10. Take the point of the triangle that’s near your knee, and fold it in half so that the point now meets the side of the skirt, pin, and sew. For clarification: the point should meet the side of the skirt that’s opposite of where you tucked the point into the waistband). Fotor071544255 11. To make sure that all pieces of the skirt is in tact, sew a straight line down the side of the skirt (opposite of where the point was tucked into the waist band). Screen Shot 2014-07-15 at 4.20.56 AM Feel free to manipulate your skirt in any way you see fit so that you can enhance the appearance of the drapery.   Here’s how my skirt came out: Fotor071550219

 

 

DIY Sheer Maxi Dress


Here’s how you can make your very own sheer maxi dress like this one:

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also available at KarmaLoop

 

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1. Measure from the top of your shoulder to your ankle, this will determine the length of your dress; let’s call it, “LD”.  Measure from your shoulder to your hips, this will determine where the side slits in your dress will start, let’s call it, “SS”.

         

2. Take your fabric (1.5 – 2 yards) and fold it vertically (hot dog style!) twice, and then keep it in place with pins, like this:

3. Take your tank top and fold it in half vertically. Place your folded top onto your sheer fabric and trace it. Be sure to elongate the lines of the pattern in accordance with the “LD” measurement. Leave a mark for the start of the “SS”, and remember to add a ½ seam allowance. Like so:

 

4. Cut out the pattern. You should be left with two pieces:

Remember to add a 1/2 inch seam allowance line to both pieces of the dress

5. Pin the front and the back pieces of the dress together stopping at the “SS” mark, and sew. Hem the side slits (left and right slits on the front of the dress, and the left and right slits on the back). *To hem the side slits fold the outer edge of the fabric a 1/2 inch inward (so that it meets the seam allowance line), and then sew.

Remember to always sew with the dress inside out

6. Hem the armholes. For help with hemming follow Step 5 *instructions.

7a. Hem the neckline in the front and the back of the dress by following Step 5 *instructions:

8. Fold an additional piece of fabric in half horizontally (hamburger style!), pin it to the neckline on the front of the dress, and sew it. Repeat this step for the  neckline on the back of the dress. *I decided to do this for the back of my dress and NOT for the neckline on the front of my dress.

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9. Connect and pin the armholes, then sew.

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10. Here’s how my dress came out:

photo 3 (1)
check out my neckline

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DIY Beyonce Charm Necklace

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Here’s how you can make Beyonce’s Charm Necklace (from her XO) video for yourself:

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1.  Tape down your two chains, the thick one (22 inches) and the medium size one (14 inches), to a work surface.  Let’s call the thick chain, “Chain A”,  the medium size chain, “Chain B”, and the thinner chain that’ll be used to connect the charms, “Chain C”.  Chain B should be centered underneath Chain A. For example:

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2. Use the jump rings to connect the two chains.  For jump ring placement follow the pattern below. This is very important, otherwise your chain will not lay flat around your neck.

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click the image to enlarge it

3. Put the linked chains around your neck and determine where the center of your chain is. Place a jump ring on the link (on Chain B) that marks the center of the necklace. Cut off 3 inches of the Chain C, and attach a jump ring to one end of Chain C, and attach your biggest charm piece to the other end of the chain C.

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4. Add the other charms to the necklace by arranging your charms in the pattern shown in the picture below. For each charm, estimate  how much of Chain C you’ll need. Or,  if you’d prefer, measure the distance between  Chain B’s link and where you want the charm to be.  Then, cut Chain C based on your measurement needs, place a jump ring on one end of cut Chain C, and place your charm on the other end of Chain C.  Connect the jump ring on Chain C to a link on Chain B.

 

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Repeat this high-low-high pattern on the left side of the middle charm

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5. Continue adding the remaining smaller charms to the remaining links on Chain B. I used 18 charms on each side of the big middle charm.  So, 37 charms in total (including the center piece charm).

6. Place a jump ring on one end of Chain A, and a jump ring connect to a lobster clasp on the other end of Chain A, and you’re done.

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Here’s what my charm necklace looks like:

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For more information about how to style this statement necklace check out Kela’s Kloset article (particularly number  11).

DIY Hi-Lo Chain Necklace

 

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Here’s how you can make your very own Hi-Lo Chain like this one:

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1. Put the chain (about 1- 1.5 yards) around your neck and decide how long you want the shorter part (let’s call it “chain A”) of your Hi-Lo Chain to be. Cut the chain based on what length you want “Chain A” to be. We’ll call the left over chain, “Chain B”

2. Attach a jump ring to one end of “Chain A”, and attach a lobster clasp onto this same jump ring.  Attach a jump ring on the other end of “Chain A”

4. Put on “Chain A”. Use a jump ring to connect “Chain B” to a part of “Chain A” near where your neck and shoulder meet on the right side

5. Use a jump ring to connect “Chain B” to a part of “Chain A “near where your neck and shoulder meet on the left side Screen Shot 2014-06-09 at 4.01.14 PM

6. *Optional* : If you have sensitive skin, apply clear nail polish on the jump rings and on the areas of the chain that touch your skin Here’s how my Hi-Lo Chain came out:

DIY Leather Panel Shorts

 

Here’s how you can make your very own Leather Panel Shorts like these ones:

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materials

 

1. Try on your leggings inside out and mark how long (or short) you’d like your shorts to be

step1         step1a

2. Cut your leggings at the desired length. Put on the leggings (now shorts)  inside out and use a measuring tape to measure and mark where you’d like the leather patch to line up. Repeat on the back of the shorts. In total, you should have 4 lines drawn on your shorts.

step2 step2a

step2b

3. Take the shorts off and cut out one side (the left or the right side, you choose) of the shorts where the leather panel will be inserted. Make sure to cut along the line that you made on the front of the shorts, and the line you drew on the back of the shorts. After following this step, you should have something like this:

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soon to be leather panel is folded
soon to be leather panel is open
soon to be leather panel is open

 

4. Place the panel that you have just cut out onto the faux leather fabric and trace it; be sure to create an outline for 1/2 inch seam allowance. Cut out the pattern, and it should look like this:

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5. Hem the left and the right side of the pattern by folding the outer edges of the fabric so that they meet the lines of the “original pattern”, pin it down, and then sew. Make sure the leather side of the fabric is Not face up while you are sewing. It should look like this:

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6. With the shorts inside out, pin down (one of) the open edges of the shorts onto the hem that was previously sewn on the leather panel, and then sew the two pieces (the shorts and the panel) together. Then, turn the shorts on the right side and do a top stitch over the two pieces that were just sewn together.  It should look like this:Screen Shot 2014-06-06 at 8.44.24 AM

7 . With the shorts turned inside out connect the other side of the panel to the other open end of the shorts following the same actions from step 6. Don’t forget to topstitch.  The shorts should now look like this:

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both sides of the leather panel are sewn on to the shorts

8.  Turn the shorts inside out. Create a rolled hem (a hem with two folds instead of just one) at the top and the bottom of the shorts by folding the top edge of the leather fabric to meet the line of the “original pattern”, pin it, and then sew. Repeat this step with the bottom edge of the leather fabric. Your shorts should now look like this:

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top of shorts
bottom of shorts
bottom of shorts

9. Repeat steps 4-8 on the other side of the shorts.

Here’s how my shorts came out:

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Where’s your sanity–before, and after?

I’m practically always outside of the American news loop, and I don’t particularly make the effort to stay updated– mostly for the fact that the news seems to be nothing but bad/sad. However, after reading so many facebook statuses about a Colorado incident, my curiosity lead me to do some Googling to find out what happened. The following are my thoughts while/after reading about the situation:

1. Where’s your sanity –before, and after you take the lives of so many people (young and old).

2. What kind of person does this? I mean it as literal as can be; what kind of pain, struggles, losses, disappointments, etc. has a person that does something like this experienced? Where does this person come from; what is his/her foundation like, what are/were their parent(s)/guardian(s) like, what values were they raised with, what psychological tribulations did they face that impacted their transition into adulthood….

3. We’re always saying, ” Our hearts go out to….”, but, damn, how many hearts do we have left to give? Is it the fact that people like the suspect know that somewhere and somehow they’ll always be a heart to give, and use this as another green light to go ape-shit —to leave their sanity, their humanity, their conscience, their heart somewhere under dirt

….

It really baffles me how people could do things like this, it’s more than crazy….

So many people that I talk to here in Italy idolize America and Americans, but if they only knew….

the time has come

In advance, I’ll take this time to apologize for any typos or grammatical errors that may appear in this post due to….

I’m going to Rome tomorrow! It’s amazing to think that March is here already. Wow! I do remember the feeling of leaving Rome and thinking, “damn 4 more months”.
Welk, the time has come. Tomorrow, I will do it all again. The commute to the airport, the waiting in line, the bag search, more waiting, and then sitting sitting sitting, and so forth. But, I have to tell myself it’s alll good with me because the final destination is more than worth it.

Can i just say that I feel so blessed to be able to return to Rome. Most people only get to go to their study abroad location once, but look at me….I’m going back again and it hasn’t even been a year. I can’t fully express my gratitude for this.

Anyhow, my well of words is a bit dry. So, I’m going to bed now. Perhaps I’ll write if I have the time.

Ciao!

And today is the last day of something I never guessed would be so amazing, so great, so inspirational, so full of lessons to learn, so full of beauty.

I came here fresh from New York, not any place in New York, but Brooklyn; Bedstuy to be specific. A summer in the city taught me to be hard and to put my guard up in case of any unexpected outside attacks. With that hard heart, I set foot on these cobblestones with a game face plastered to a mask that said, “Yeah, I got this! I’m comin’ from New York, I got this!” But, before I could predict it, I became a hurricane Katrina towards against my own defense;  my walls were nearly drowning in tears because of my longing for home, for America.

Then, through Yoga and Tai-Chi classes, I learned to not only open my heart, but to soften it. I learned how to breathe. And it’s through that simple, yet difficult at times, gesture that I maneuvered my way through this city and made it my home.

I came here with two large suitcases filled with nothing but fear. This merely may have been due to the unknown; not knowing if I’d learn enough of the language to survive, if I’d have enough money for the duration of my stay, if classes would be difficult, if I’d find my way around the city, etc.

I came here with the mission of renovating my life; with the intention of making reconstructing some damaged aspects of my life. I wanted to reflect on my relationships with certain people and figure out how I could make them different; better. Do I feel as if my mission has been accomplished? No, not entirely. But, more importantly, I feel equipped with the tools necessary for managing these damages and repairing these relationships. One important thing I learned while living in the right hand of the world is: things like Yoga and Tai-Chi and others of the like, are not designed to make your life better, they exist to make your way of dealing with life’s challenges in an easy, clear, and effective way; it’s about the strategy, not the problem itself. My yoga teacher taught me that we have to openly accept the difficult things that life sends our way because it’s part of the balance that we need to have.

One thing for sure that I didn’t come here hoping to find was love. I thought, “hmmm, maybe I’ll find a little beaux or something, nothing serious though”. But, I found more than a beaux, I found a lover for life. I never imagined that my first time falling in love would take place in such a beautiful city, in freeking Rome?! are you kidding me?!. It feels good to know love on another level.

Though the days have been numbered and darkened, the journey is not over. First, because a journey is something that you carry within you and not necessarily something that you discover. Second, the journey is not over because I’ll be back in March. Yep, you guessed it right, spring break in the house.

Anyhow, I’m feeling a little tired now and I want to spend these precious beats (the sound of the clock hand’s walking) with my Marco. So, I’m signing offf. But, since I’m officially on winter break, do expect to see some other posts about all the things I didn’t write about while I was here.

Until next time, take care and love yourselves and neighbors,

A posto Roma,

A posto tutti

 

I just love needles

Somehow, the left side (the weaker side) of my body has acquired some sort of bacterial infection. I feel like I have a gi-normous rock in my throat and if I swallow too hard my eardrum will shatter. After spending 4 hours in an Italian hospital, I got my blood sucked by a needle, and then I got a shot in my butt (the surface area, not any part of my butt that would be too much information for you). It was great, I just love needles.

Today has been the third consecutive day that I’ve been getting an antibiotic injected into my butt. *insert sarcasm*>> Again, I just love needles. However, the pain has been diluted, not mention, knowing that I have a special someone caring for me throughout this process (waiting with me at the hospital, translating my pain to the Italian doctor, picking up my prescription, having his Mama give me the medicine, and taking me to the ear doctor tommorow) makes things better.

The best part of being sick: Knowing that you will heal.

I know that I could be in a much worse situation.

I died at the moment too.

*insert deep deep sigh here*

I’ve been refraining from writing this post for a while now. I suppose most of my procrastination comes from the contents of what this post is about.

Recently, I lost someone that was dear to me. Although  this person and I didn’t speak or hang out everyday, the moments that we shared were intimate and deep. The moments we forged are the kind that you countlessly (and randomly) recall in your head sometimes just for the sake of being able to remember.

The craziest thing about this lost is how and where it happened. My friend was killed on the street that my family lives on. When I first read about the four-person murder, and read his name as one of the four, I said to myself, “Hmph. I know someone with that (first)name.” It didn’t click right away that the person with my friend’s name was my friend himself. I was more concerned with the fact that the shooting happened on my street where my grandparents or brother or mother could have been hit my a stray bullet.

Then, when I read a different article about the homicide and saw a picture of his face the world froze, everything in my mind’s eye went black, my ears muted, there was no sort of connection with my senses. I died at the moment too.

I haven’t told anyone here about my lost and the grief that’s buried behind my left breast, or about the millions of questions and hypothetical scenarios I have about how and why it happened. I guess the worst part of it all is that picture of his face that was in the newspaper and how it haunts my memory and overrules my free time when I’m not prepared for it. For example, I could be in Tai-Chi class and there it’ll go; his picture clear in my mind like some sort of marquee that orders my sorrow to reveal itself. But, then I manage to  swallow the image by blinking my eyelashes.

Through this situation I’ve learned how to value my experience here in Rome that much more. Here I am in a place where I can pace these cobblestones at practically any hour and not have to worry about getting caught in cross fire, getting robbed, or gangs hanging on the corners. My life here is fearless, and worry-free. I don’t even have to worry about something as small a mouse running through my kitchen when I turn the light on. Not a single worry!

It’s sad that a death of a close friend dragged my eyes to the beauty that keeps me nestled here in Italy. But, it’s just an epiphany that beauty doesn’t solely consist of what can be seen, it’s also a feeling that makes you appreciate aspects of your life. Not enough of us pay attention to life while we have it.

Another reason why I hesitated to immediately write this post was because it was almost as if a part of thought that if I don’t ever write about it, it won’t be real.

As a poet, I thought about writing yet another socially conscious poem about the situation. Then I thought to myself, No!, I wont!.

I am sick and tired of writing the same poems, different words …same meanings. My poems about violence sometimes seem to just be synonyms of each other. I want to write poems about the beauty and the wonders of life. I want to write about love, and happiness, about power, about the God inside of me. I wonder, how many friends will I have to lose, how many storms will past, how many tears will I have to shed before such tragedies can rid themselves of being martyrs of my poetry. I want to write of positive energy.

 

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